Classic Gingerbread Cake

Is there a rule about posting gingerbread cake after the holiday season is over?  Am I breaking some type of blogging etiquette?  I apologize if I am, but I was just way to busy in December to make this, and I couldn’t let it wait until next year. 

I saw this in Cook’s Illustrated, and it was the beer that did it for me – not just any beer, but Guinness Stout.  Then I started thinking that maybe this could be a type of St. Patrick’s Day cake – and as such, I am giving you all lots of warning so you can prepare to make this for your St. Pattie’s Day celebration.  It is fantastic.  It is so rich and spicy, yet decadent at the same time – like there is some really expensive chocolate in that cake.  No – it is all the stout’s doing.  It gives it that deep rich almost chocolately flavor.  I actually brought some pieces to a meeting at work – knowing it would be a long afternoon – and people raved about it.  Well – whether it is for St. Patrick’s Day coming up, or for next December – now I have a great recipe for Gingerbread cake.  Do you want to know the best part?  The recipe doesn’t call for a whole beer, so you have to drink the rest while it is baking…


  • 3/4 cup Guinness Stout
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup mild molasses
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting pan
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger


Adjust oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan.

Bring stout to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in baking soda (mixture will foam vigorously).  When foaming subsides, stir in molasses, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until dissolved; set mixture aside.  Whisk flour, ground ginger, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pepper (optional) together in a large bowl; set aside.

Transfer stout mixture to a large bowl.  Whisk in eggs, oil, and granulated ginger until combined.  Whisk wet mixture into flour mixture in thirds, stirring vigorously until completely smooth after each addition.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and gently tap pan against counter 3 or 4 times to dislodge any large air bubbles.  Bake until the top of the cake is just firm to touch and a toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes.  Cook cake in the pan on a wire rack, about 1 1/2 hours.  Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 16 large squares.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Classic Gingerbread Cake

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4 thoughts on “Classic Gingerbread Cake

  1. I love that you make Gingerbread after the holidays. There should be no rules in cooking. I made my standard gingerbread adapted from Tassajara Bread book a few weeks ago and the next day noticed this recipe in Cooks Illustrated. Glad to hear that it tested out good in your kitchen. I’ll have to try that next time.

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